On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday, January 15, 2017, we had the honor of reading my play God, Do I Hear Wedding Bells? (#GDIHWB) at the eta Creative Arts Foundation, located at 7558 S. South Chicago, during their annual Magic Box Series that showcases local talent and playwrights.
The cast and I had two weeks to prepare for the reading, which was not an easy task to do because none of us had ever done a reading before so we had no knowledge of how to prepare for it. I found on YouTube, several videos, of theater reading examples to use. So after we basically understood what a reading was, the bigger task was to get this 90 minute play if performed, down to a 20 minute reading. Talk about pressure. If you’ve seen the play performed, we decided to cut the audio parts, obviously there was no intermission and the guys could not act out the fight scenes that is a major key in visually getting the audience to see the affects of domestic violence.
(seated l-r: Brandon J. Minor, Shakira Reedus, Sherell Brown and Gerald Banton)
Next up was, I believe was the hardest thing for the cast to do, which was remain seated as they read their parts and their voices had to project details of what was actually going on in each scene. Again, it was difficult for the cast to do because they are so used to “acting” but nevertheless, they did an awesome job. This was a huge step for Felicia T. Simpson Productions, as I networked with staff at the eta as well as people who attended the reading who had connections either in film or other major theater companies in Chicago.
I am truly blessed each and every time I see this play performed because it is definitely entertaining but it also teaches on the cycle of violence in domestic violence, of which I am a survivor of since February 2009. Someone in the audience suggested that we make the play into a movie and that has been my prayer so once I get a camcorder, that will definitely be my next project to work on.
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